Journey to Zyuratkul Mountains
The Ignatyevskaya Cave (Russia, Chelyabinsk region)
It’s summer. My mood is perfect. I feel that it’s time to relax and unwind. In a one good day of August, we, staff of the company SautinSoft, decided to spend time on the lake Zyuratkul. We had a lot of stories and rumors about this wonderful place: the beautiful high-mountain lake located in Chelyabinsk region. Mirrored water surface surrounded by the mountain chains – Urenga, Lukash, Nurgush, Moskal and Zyuratkul. Because of spectacular scenery, high location and amazingly clear water Zyuratkul often called Ural Yellowstone. Vicinity of the lake is considered one of the cleanest places in Russia.
The previous night we’ve loaded into our cars everything we could needed: tents, food, fishing tackle and rucksacks!
The members of our men’s team: Maxim – the company’s founder and our spiritual leader, Alexander – cofounder and the head of the developers’ group, Eugene – leading developer, Alexey – the company’s lawyer and Dmitry – technical support engineer.
The way from our city, where the headquarters of the company locates, to the lake is about 650 km. It presupposes about 12-15 hours of driving by federal highway with several big stops to see the local sightseeing!
The Ignatyevskaya cave became our first stop.
The road to the area of the cave comes from village Aratskoe to the west. It is unpaved, but well done. To not stray from the route, we found at the map the village cemetery. It located from the left of way and was our landmark. First the road goes through open, slightly hilly terrain, and then delves into the woods. The most convenient way to find the road is look for the fresh car tracks. Next the road descends slowly along the bottom of a shallow ravine in a broad valley to the coastal meadow, just below the cave.
Name of the cave is connected with the personality of the elder Ignatius, according to legend, he lived in the cave at the end of the XIX century. The cave is very far from the centers of civilization! It doesn’t have interior lighting, comfortable lifting and tables with pointers.
We stood in front of the frightening darkness and the unknown … but still decided to enter! In 10 meters of the entrance we met several men, dressed in special clothing and with powerful flashlights! Looking at our group, they just smiled and wished to be very cautious and careful. We were dressed in jeans and T-shirts, and the only light we have had from cameras and mobile phones!
The archway of the cave entrance Ignatievskaya is gorgeous – it has height and width of about 12 meters underground and darkness proudly gazes from her paint the “upper world”. The entrance is located at an altitude of about 10 m above the river and is visible from the opposite left bank. The archway and the wall next to her are good for rock climbing as a free (at low altitude), and with insurance. At the top of the rock you can climb around. Trees at the top allow you to securely attach the rope.
The interior of the cave is defined by four main parts – Entrance grot, Main corridor, Big and Remote halls. The greatest is Big hall the height of which in some places reaches 8 meters. Almost everywhere in the cave from Entrance grot to Main corridor you should be on your hunkers, and to get to Remote hall you should creep along Low pass or use the stairs and overpass narrow creep hole also going to Remote hall at the height of 4,5 meters over the cave floor.
The most remote grot from the entrance is named cell of Elder Ignatiy. A narrow creep hole goes there at the bottom the of the gallery right side. When you get into cell, you can reach the second exit through several meters – a hole in the wall at the height of about 2,5 meters over the floor.
A lot of legends related to orthodox religion refer to the cave. According to the legends of the locals at the turn of 19-20 century anchoret Ignat dwelled here, but nobody knows exactly who he was but he has lived 10 years in the cave. Many years have passed since, but the crowds of tourists and pilgrims come regularly here as they believe in miraculous force of these places. One of the cave tunnels brought us to cell of elder Ignat representing some room with area 30 sq. m.! Inside the room there is God Mother icon engraved in the wall but nobody knows exactly about its origin!
Interest to Ignatyevskaya cave arose long time ago. According to one legend, our ancestors who lived in these places, carried out various pagan rituals! One of the rites was when a boy was born in the tribe, for him to become a man, he had to find exit from the cave in the full darkness without food and water!
One of the peculiarities that should be noted is low straight corridor laying in the south-east direction. It’s wet place and at the end there are roots on the roof which showing nearness of the surface. Besides this room and cell of Elder Ignatiy, the rest of the cave is dry. The floor is clay with some small rocks and clods can occur. The clods are the most numerous in Stolb grot. The cave walls are dark, grey and black because of soot, in the narrow places they are cleaner, grey and brown. They are moderately corrodible. There are no wall formations in the most part of the cave.
After long walks by twisty tunnels, the first we saw in the light of our cell phones is a round stone! As we found out later, according to the legend this is the stone of goodness and evil. A man can lay on the stone and all the negative energy leaves filling him with positive energy. We found a four-meter stairs going somewhere up in the darkness. Maxim and Alexander as it turned out later the bravest from our group decided to check where it goes, went upstairs and disappeared in the darkness! The walls of the cave are covered with various cave drawings.
Time flies unnoticeably and the research of the cave could take more than just one hour. We did not want to leave this unusual place so soon, but climbing up to Zyuratkul mountain expected us ahead. Ultimately we looked around the cave and began to get to the exit. After next turn we saw bright shine and felt a fresh air inflow.
Squinting because of the bright sun, we went ahead….
To be continued!
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